Travel Manager Considerations when Searching for a TMC

Featuring Tam Clark, Category Manager, Travel & Expense, Sysmex America

As Travel Category Manager at Motorola and now Sysmex America, Tam Clark specializes in strategic sourcing of corporate travel.  She’s been involved in choosing new TMCs and has advice for travel managers looking for the best experience possible for themselves and their travelers.


Know Your Organization Needs

If you’re in the process of selecting a new travel partner, Clark emphasizes the importance of doing some pre-selection homework. The first step of the formal search process should be identifying your organization’s travel program needs. “Before you even start looking for TMCs to participate, it’s important to identify your needs,” says Clark. “I don’t think you can even short-list TMCs before you know that. The due diligence of learning what stakeholders in your travel program need will save you in the end.”

At Sysmex, Clark discovered accuracy, efficiency, Concur support and a good traveler experience topped the list. And as the program’s travel manager, she was looking for ease of implementation and strong account management.

Most surprising to Clark when Sysmex went through the TMC selection process were the previously unknown features of their online booking tool. “Until we went through the search, we didn’t even know what we could get out of Concur,” says Clark. “With Fox’s level of expertise with Concur, we were like kids at the circus. We had no idea what was even available under our previous TMC.”


Travel Manager Experience

As the leader of the TMC selection process, Clark also investigated how the working relationship with the new TMC would look. When searching for a new TMC, she advises making sure travel managers understand how the potentially complicated implementation process will roll-out. She recommends finding a partner who will truly lead the implementation. “During our implementation, Fox was absolutely on top of every topic, so I didn’t have to do any of the heavy lifting,” she remembers. “Fox led and continuously managed all the steps involved in implementing our travel program.”

In addition to implementation, the kick-off of the TMC relationship, Clark recommends travel managers understand what long-term account support will look like with all the candidates. “During the RFP process, I have an eye out for the responsiveness and commitment of the entire team,” says Clark. “What really put Fox over the top was hearing and seeing their commitment to excellence.”

And from Clark’s perspective, that commitment has been evident since launching with Fox. “Whether it’s getting our hotel rates loaded, an out-of-sync business review or a traveler question, our Client Solutions Manager is always available to assist or find the right resource for us. That’s invaluable to me as a travel manager.”


1 Comment

  • Tam,
    Excellent article and spot on. I agree with your observations and how important it is to know your travel program inside and out, and your travelers needs before you can search for a TMC. During your search, you will see all TMC’s offer 80% of the same services, or are “vanilla” in these areas. The other 20% is what stands out and when your with the right TMC will put your travel program over the top.

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